UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
August 7, 2015 -- To assist in filling the void of qualified Montessori educators in eastern Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls will offer its graduate Montessori teacher education program in Appleton beginning in September. Students can take the courses for professional development, earn teaching credentials for Montessori early childhood and elementary classrooms and have the option to earn a master of science in education degree.
"This new collaboration with the Appleton Public Montessori School will provide a wonderful opportunity for new and current Montessori teachers in central, eastern, and southern Wisconsin," said Larry Solberg, dean of the UW-River Falls College of Education and Professional Studies.
The UWRF graduate program began in 2012 in response to a growing need across the state for individuals trained in the Montessori methods of teaching. The program offered in River Falls is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and affiliated by the American Montessori Society (AMS). There are currently thirty students enrolled and 17 graduates.
Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori in 1907. There are an estimated 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide, 5,000 in the United States and a growing number in Wisconsin, mostly serving the educational needs of children age three years to 12 years. UW-River Falls is the only university in the UW-System offering a graduate pathway to earn Montessori credentials and one of only two public universities across the country, said Solberg.
According to Solberg, the decision to offer the courses in Appleton was influenced not only the requests received from prospective students in the eastern part of the state, but also by the willingness of the Appleton Public Montessori School to provide fully-equipped Montessori classrooms in which to hold the courses.
"We are very excited to partner with UWRF in offering a Montessori teacher training program right here in Appleton, centrally located for many in this part of the state," said Dom Ferrito, principal of the Appleton Public Montessori School. "The need for qualified Montessori educators is evident as we work with many established Montessori schools anticipating expansion, as well as districts and individuals starting a new school. There is no doubt in my mind that the Montessori movement is growing in Wisconsin and the need for Montessori educators will expand with it."
The UWRF program appeals to both certified Wisconsin educators in K-12 schools and individuals with a bachelor's degree who want to teach in private Montessori schools, said Solberg. Students may choose to complete a graduate Montessori credential with or without a master's degree in Early Childhood, Elementary I or Elementary II in six consecutive semesters.
"Because our program accommodates working adults by offering classes in a blended learning format of online coursework and face-to-face meetings on just one weekend per month, we fully expect to draw students from the Milwaukee and Madison areas, as well as Green Bay and surrounding cities," said Linda Jacobson, program manager in the UWRF Outreach and Continuing Education office.
Courses offered this fall in Appleton are Montessori Philosophy and Pedagogy (MONT 500) and Child Development and Observation (MONT 712) with class meetings the weekends of Sept. 19-20 and Oct. 24-25. Students will be admitted for graduate study before enrolling in the Appleton classes but may choose to take the classes for professional development and not pursue a degree, Jacobson added.
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls provides lifelong learners with academic, professional development and enrichment programs that are practical, flexible, convenient and affordable. A complete list of courses, course descriptions and online registration information is available at https://www.uwrf.edu/ContinuingEducation.